A Name Gone, but Not Forgotten

This week is Favorite Names prompted by Amy Johnson Crow.

Melody is a surname that my family would not let die, a homage to our petit but feisty ancestress Bridget Melody. She was born in 1864 in Galway, Ireland to parents Michael Melody and Dorothy Guinnessy/McGuinness. Her parents would have experienced first-hand the Irish Potatoe Famine and Bridget would have grown up in a community still recovering from the tragedy.


Bridget’s family likely thought there were opportunities for her further afield. In 1879 she traveled solo (as far as we know) to Canada and settled as a domestic in the home of a Scottish merchant.

Bridget was married in 1887 to Samuel Dever in Montreal. When their sixth child arrived in 1897 they passed on Bridget’s maiden name to him, John Melody Dever. (It is possible he was named after Bridget’s grandfather, more research to be done on that).

Bridget had five siblings survive to adulthood but she is the only one that had children. Her descendants have kept the Melody name alive, at the last count, there are twelve descendants carrying the name. Four generations later, the name is alive and well and I am guessing we aren’t done.

The Melody family is not forgotten because we choose to remember.

Bridget Melody-1.

Bridget Melody c1887



The Next Step After Griffith’s Valuation

The next step after finding your relative in Griffith’s Valuation is to head to the Valuation Office in Dublin, either in person or remotely. Read to the end to find out exciting news about this collection.

What you can find there is a record of the land you have located in Griffith’s changing hands. You are charged 1 Euro per page. And no, you do not have to visit them in person to order the records. A friend was telling me that she has requested the information on-line. You can read more about the Valuation Office services here.

When using Griffiths, I had found a John Melody & Michael Melody owned land in Corrabaun, Galway. My recent trip to Ireland along with a handy lesson on using the overlay of Griffith’s maps along with modern ones allowed me to see that the land owned by Michael Melody had previously been owned by John, possibly his father? I still don’t know that yet, but likely.

Corrabaun Valuation record

A page from Book 6 (1847-1939) at the Valuation Office, Dublin.

By using the valuation records, I can see that the land changed hands about 1867, and John is no longer listed at all on the later valuations. I think John may have died but I will have to do some further investigations, although the index for civil death registration for Loughrea is on the Irish Genealogy website, the actual record needs to be ordered.


The entry showing John’s land being taken over by Michael Melody, 1867.

And now the news, these records I was told will hopefully all be on-line in about two years!! This will be a great boon to all genealogists.

A big thank you to Peter who took a day off of work to come with me to the Valuation Office and then he took me to the National Library. A great day of researching!

Conference Day

Today we drove into Nenagh, Tipperary today and I have some time before the Clans and Surnames Conference begins.

It is really hard to relate all that we have experienced so far on our trip. For us the highlight has definitely been our New Inn stay. It is great to see Ireland but also to have people who welcome you into their homes and take the time out of their lives to drive you to various places describing who lives there now and hearing the stories is an invaluable part of our journey.

Places we have been – 

Clontusket Abbey – close to where the McGuinness family lived when they arrived in Galway in the 1820s. (Featured image is of one of the windows from the Abbey
Woodlawn House – owned by the landowners of the New Inn are where the Melody & McGuinness family were living. Their landowner was Rev. Trench.
I received a thorough tutorial from a very helpful friend (thanks Martin) on how to do map overlays using Griffiths Valuation. This allowed me to see where John Melody & Michael Melody were living in the area of Corrabaun in the 1850s. Their farms were located side by side and John’s farm was eventually owned by Michael and then later by Michael’s son Thomas Melody.

I still have a lot to learn but another tip I received was that the Cancelation Books would cover every time the land changed hands and these books are located for viewing in Dublin. I hope to have a chance to have a look at them when we head back there.